Biodiversity networks in Africa: from knowledge management to technical and institutional implementation
Biological collection and data management
Open Journal System Proceedings of TDWG
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Africa is one of the most biologically diverse continents on earth. Biological diversity is widespread across different types of habitats, including protected and non protected sites. In different countries, a number of institutions have been involved for some decades in data collection, in most cases in collaboration with international partners. The CABIN (Central African Biodiversity Information Network) project, supported by the Belgian General Direction of Development Cooperation, has identified the lack of efficient networking as an impediment to the sustainable management of biodiversity data, with an impact on local development. Networking amongst research centres and higher learning institutions is needed to maximize the use of limited expertise, to maximize information sharing and to promote effective and cost efficient biodiversity informatics capacity building activities within the central African region and beyond. Africa needs to benefit from recent advances in information technology. A survey showed that there is an increased willingness to share primary biodiversity data within Africa. For the method to work, several limitations must be overcome, including a lack of high-quality taxonomic determination, imprecise georeferencing of data, and the poor availability of high-quality, updated, taxonomic treatments. Geographic scopes and topics for networking greatly vary and can be considered at country, regional and continental levels. Agriculture is a key area where access to information about taxonomy and biodiversity is crucial. This sector plays a key role as a major economic activity intertwined with peoples livelihoods in Africa. CABIN is planning to collaborate with existing institutions and ongoing projects in Africa. As a pilot project, eight collaborators have been selected from Central Africa: four major agriculture research stations (Mvuazi, Mulungu, Yangambi, Nyoka) and four universities (Bukavu, Kisangani, Kinshasa, Yangambi). In collaboration with UniversiTic and CEPDEC (Capacity Enhancement Programme for Developing Countries) of GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), CABIN will organize a training workshop in 2010 for scientists from those research centers and universities on standards for digitizing data for easy sharing. In future, this activity may be expanded to other parts of Africa. Biodiversity Informatics techniques have the potential not only to support fundamental studies , but also to assist developing countries in tackling biodiversity management issues in practical ways.
CitationKahindo, c.; Theeten, F.; Mergen, P.; Cael, G.; Louette, M.; Bakasanda, O.; Kasajima, M.; Kelbert, P.; Holetschek, J.; Arnaud, E.; Djallo, D. (2009). Biodiversity networks in Africa: from knowledge management to technical and institutional implementation. , Presentation at the TDWG 2009 Annual Conference, Vol. 2009, Open Journal System Proceedings of TDWG, DOI: http://www.tdwg.org/proceedings/article/view/473.